Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Maybe We Should Stop Practising Islam & Start LIVING Islam Part 2

I’ve heard that a woman is not supposed to dye her hair black. When I enquired as to why, I was told that it was deceptive… because having black hair automatically makes one look younger. I pointed out that according to Islamic principles, a woman’s hair should be covered at all times and no one except her Mahram’s (Father, Brothers, Husband, Sons) should be gazing at it so I don't see how the justification applies. And considering that all of them (her Mahram's) are most likely to know her age and status because of the capacity of their relationships with her, they are highly unlikely to be deceived. I also enquired after what should a woman do if her husband wanted her to dye her hair black, so that she is attractive to him, and was met with no answer.

In our societies, especially here in SA (unfortunately I have no information on the status anywhere else in the world) we have a huge problem regarding Sihr (Black Magic) with a staggering number of people either knowingly or unknowingly indulging in Sihr and Shirk to bringing back lost loves, to remove bad luck, to prevent their husbands from leaving, to hurt or kill their enemies, to get money etc. etc. So they may consult dodgy Nigerian or Malawian “doctors” and some will even consult with *some respected people in society… Sheikhs and Moulana’s whom they trust.

To these people, mostly ladies, they aren’t doing anything wrong. They don’t think that robbing someone else of his/her choices is them trying to play God, or them seeking illicit “help” from these people to control sectors of their lives is Shirk (associating partners with Allah SWT) and the most severe sin in Islam.
*Note: not all Sheikh’s, Imam's and Moulana’s are complicit in these evil deeds. A lot actually do good work. But only a person with knowledge on these matters will be able to tell, as I've discussed extensively on my other blog)

I’ve been a spectator and occasional participant in the endless debate surrounding what’s considered Haraam (forbidden) and Halaal (permissible). Apparently, most of the time all you need is a couple million rand to have something certified Halaal. I was even approached and chastised for eating sweets with Bovine Gelatine listed as an ingredient. The woman who approached me didn’t even know which factors determined whether something was Halaal or not.

I enlightened her and said “Ask yourself, what makes something Halaal?”. She looked at me blankly and I continued, “In Islam, when it comes to meat, the meat has to be a) NOT slaughtered in the name of a PAGAN God and b) NOT be slaughtered in an inhumane way and c) it should be “bled” right… that is, all the blood should be drained from the animal’s body.

When the concepts of halaal and haraam came down, those products that were considered harmful to ones health, for example consuming animal blood or meat cooked in blood was considered Haraam because it is bad for ones health. Alcohol was made Haraam in stages, because of its negative intoxicating effects on the mind, as well as the harmful effects it had on the body, the liver in particular. Pork was also made Haraam because they are scavengers, and as a result, their meat is not considered clean or healthy. In fact, the Prophet (SAW) used to be invited to dine with Jews on a regular basis, do you think he worried that whatever they were serving came from a Halaal Butcher?

I then asked her if she even knew what was Bovine Gelatine made of. I got another blank stare because she, like most people, had absolutely no knowledge of the extensive chemical process that’s involved in the production of Bovine Gelatine… a process that involves chemically cleaning and pulverizing animal bones in a system that’s so complex and intricate that they cannot even trace the end product back to its original component. The end product, the Gelatine, is not only chemically cleaned, but it has no nutritional value and zero health risks.

And I concluded, “So you see, this packet of gums that you say is Haraam can actually be contested as such. I don’t consume pork or pork products, or meat from unknown sources… but you can be sure that I will consume these fruit flavoured gums and anything else I see fit”.

… and in the back of my mind I couldn't help thinking to myself “You’re one of them… you have no qualms visiting your practitioner, beating the drums, reading selected verses from the Qur’an backwards, calling Satan’s emissaries (the bad Jinn), indulging in Shirk to get rid of your daughter-in-law but you’re standing here telling me I can’t eat this packet of sweets from Woolies because it’s Haraam?!?


  1. I saw this on a friends FB post yesterday and thought of you ;)


  2. OMG- I just followed Kaloo's link. I have brief recollections of Majlis when I lived in SA but reading this article actually made me laugh.I have no words!

    Living in Oz you see how Islam has been interpreted by so many nationalities and it's interesting seeing second and third generation Australian Muslims strip the cultural interpretation and practice Islam more holistically which is great.

    Still reeling from the majlis article!

  3. Im glad so many people find the words of our beloved Nabi (saw) so amusing *rolls eyes* its ironic, you all demand respect for your opinions and views (music is halaal, gelatine is halaal, blah blah blah) yet when it comes to others who hold other views to you such as gelatine is haraam, music is haraam, SANHA chickens are haraam- we are given looks of disdains,haughty attitudes, "are you stupid" glances and looks and yet you ask us to be respectful and tolerant of your views. Talk about double standards.

    Im sick and tired of having to defend some of my beliefs and made to feel foolish with some of the absurdly patronising remarks i get. My time for Islamic discussion is up i think, because i fear that it will affect me spiritually and especially in the blessed month of ramadhan it is not something i wish for.

    To be honest i am highly upset at the lack of sensitivity when it comes to others who hold differing views- people go on about, "agreeing to disagree," and "being tolerant," but the truth of the matter is- it doesnt exist.

    Oh and before anyone has a hissy fit, its not aimed at anyone directly lest you all start crying *rolls eyes* and get your knickeres in a twist.

  4. Kaloo - LOL, I personally abhor the Majlis and think that there is no difference between them and other fundamental groups that are so set on destroying the holistic image of Islam. Islam is about peace, love and moderation… not eternal damnation. Why would Allah SWT create us flawed if he was going to condemn every single one of us to Hell for every single small thing that we do or don’t do?

    Shameema - What can I say, other than you 're SO lucky ;P Can you now understand my need to leave what’s looking more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah in reverse?

    Zahera - This is not about your views and the concepts in these first two posts are highlighting different views and alternative EVIDENCE of what we hold to be true in Islam today - most of which we follow blindly without questioning. Instead this is about those people who see fit to play God by condemning others to hell for every single thing. What about the REAL issues? I strongly urge you to read my following post. Islam is less about how long our Kurtas are and more about the kind of human beings we are. I sincerely hope that Allah SWT can soften your heart and open your mind to this kind of understanding, and I’m saying this without any condescension or arrogance because I really want you to understand the weight of this issue… it doesn’t help Islam, it’s ruining us!! I'm not saying that you have to accept what I say, but at least view them in a way that is not as an attack on your own personal beliefs. If we study the life of the Prophet SAW, we all see very clearly, that he was NOTHING like people are today. He was accepting, he was kind… a just ruler. He was not a dogmatic dictator. And I think most Muslims have lost the plot somewhere.

  5. Azra, i do actually find your post and the insinuation that my heart needs softening both upsetting and insulting. Anyone who knows me that i am a lover and not a hater. I have read the life of our beloved Nabi e Kareem (saw) extensively, i also know of his wonderful qualities and his gentle nature- there was no one more kind them him and noone less harsh than him. No one came to Islam through harshness, rather the softness and gentleness of muslims is what bought people o this beautiful deen. But when you say that nabi SAW was accepting- yes he was, but there was noone more firm in Deen than him either. He would not tolerate a violation of Allah Ta'alas laws and he even went as far as to say that if Fatimah the daughter of Muhammed (i.e. his own daughter) was a thief, he would not have hesitated in chopping off her hand.

    I understand where youre coming from.. i was once a nonhijaabi too you know- my issues arent about who is right or wrong, my issues are about how naseeha should be taken. When i give you advice i do it from my heart because i love you as my sister in Islam. I want for you what i have or would want for myself. What i find disrespectful is when people go around mocking people with "extreme" views or insulting certain ulama because they seem to be destroying Islam in your opinion when infact they dont see it in that light. They see it as part of Amr bil marook nahy anil munkar. Allah knows there intentions just how He (swt) knows yours and my intention.

    At the end of the day we each to what we think it best for our Imaan. If abstaining from certain things helps me to attain closeness to Allah Ta'ala then thats what works for me.
    yes i dont agree with the eternal condemnation either- there is hikmah in the way we say things and we should present ourselves as an example of living islam rather just just calling ourselves muslims but at the end of the day- i refuse to start getting all politically correct in case i offend people. We as muslims have started pussy footing around so much and where as before we were apologetic muslims to the non muslims, we have now become apologetic muslims to the muslims!!! Its crazy.

    Khair, i dont want to argue like i said. I dont love you any less just cos we have differing opinions because i belie\ve our similarities are more than our differences.

    Have a blessed Ramadhan. Ameen xx

  6. Zahera – I did not mean any insult. I do however, think that our views may differ because they’re imbedded in different cultural outlooks. The fact that I’m not a hijabi has nothing to do with my views, because even if I was one (and will be one day iA), I can assure you 110% that my opinions on these matters will not change. I’ve been on both tracks of life, seen the good and bad and I can honestly say that for me, finding this middle ground is hidayah – because this kind of understanding didn’t come over night, it was not borne out of nothing.
    I do not negate the fact that the Prophet SAW was firm in his beliefs, I just question various contrasting interpretations of his beliefs from other so-called men who came in the generations after him.
    You said “When i give you advice i do it from my heart because i love you as my sister in Islam. I want for you what i have or would want for myself.” Believe it or not, I want the same for you and that is why I can tell you this.
    I’m not mocking “extreme views” as such. I’m mocking everyone who plays God and wants to judge everyone else. I ardently believe that there are sects in our Ulema that need to be checked – because you may not see it, but it is devastating to the youth. People don’t want to worship when they feel that every single thing that they do is judged and they’re condemned for it. And it’s played a solid role in the very visible degradation of morals and values in our society. And of course they don’t see it that way, every one believes that they’re right innit. But let me tell you this, even Satan can cite scripture for his cause (not saying these sects of Ulema are Satan, just making a point).
    As Muslims, we shouldn’t be apologizing as you say to each other for who we are… but we shouldn’t be judging and arrogantly condescending and looking down on each other as well. We all do what we think is best for us, and when Allah SWT Wills it, we get to know better. And while we deeply respect and revere and love the Prophet SAW for all that he has done for us, it is important for us to remember that he is NOT Allah SWT. And only Allah SWT knows and judges. May He be with you and your family.

  7. Ameen Ya Rabi.

    To be quite honest and frank this is one of the main reasons i miss England so much sometimes. People in South Africa are too concerned with right and wrong, arguements back and forth- i dont feel the love. Thats all i wanted and want- the love. The beauty of Islam in its truest form, its compassion and mercy, its forgiveness and softness, yet everywhere i go in South Africa- i am bombarded with Islamic discussion not of the kind that interests me nor enlightens me. I dont walk away feeling free and enlightened, i walk away feeling as though more parts of us as the ummah have been ripped apart. I guess one thing i have noticed differently is that whereas here in SA its about condemnation, in England i find it is about embracing.

    My posts may seem contradictory to you but they arent and maybe i just didnt express myself correctly or you did not understand me :-)

    I shall leave it to that inshaAllah.

  8. Such an interesting thread indeed!

    Ok so is Sanha chicken halaal or not?
    Or does it depend on whether Rainbows debit order got paid or not?

    Having said that, I must say that I am truly blessed for having grown up in a home where my Gran was Christian and could quote the bible 7 ways from Sunday, and my Grandad was Muslim, 8 times Haji nonetheless.

    It gave me an understanding of religion and tolerance that I only wish the Almighty (SWT) would bestow upon my daughter Sabreen, Insha-Allah.

  9. Zahera – That “love” you talk about, and acceptance, is the foundation and the point I’m trying to get at in these posts. I feel that people in our society are constantly looking for ways to criticise and tear each other apart and tell each other how to live and who to be... and the point of reference they use is all this dogmatic information that they get from this person or that person. Half of them don’t even bother going to research and find out what is what. There is no sense of community anymore. Its every man for himself. And to get “control”people use religion to instill fear, hence all the damnation going on. I want to know whatever happened to accepting people for who they are and worshipping out of Love. People are so quick to judge others when they themselves have endless flaws. Since when has it been ok to play God. I just don’t think its right. There is a serious lack of respect in our communities and sometimes I feel that as Muslims, we are our own worst enemies. And its not like we don’t have enough enemies of Islam as it is.

    Kaloo – If any Islamic body tells me the chicken is Halaal, I will consume it. Whether it is truely Halaal or not (i.e. whether they’re lying) will be the sin upon them. And InshaAllah, your daughter will have an understanding that is beyond her years Ameen.

  10. It always amuses me that the Prophet had no qualms about eating with the Jewish people yet today Muslims are obsessed with halal. It's as if they are more pious than the Prophet!